BYU football: Riley Nelson's back in at QB, Taysom Hill's lost for season with knee injury
That's the latest on BYU's crazy quarterback carousel.
Hill suffered a torn LCL in his left knee and damaged his hamstring after absorbing a hard hit on the third-to-last play of the game in the Cougars' 6-3 win over Utah State last Friday. Hill is expected to undergo surgery in the next week and will be sidelined for 4-6 months, according to head trainer Jeff Hurst.
The injury occurred with a little more than one minute remaining in the game after a "miscommunication," said coach Bronco Mendenhall.
The coaching staff signaled to Hill that the clock was running and Mendenhall said Hill thought that meant he should run the play that was called — a quarterback draw. The coaches wanted Hill to line up in "victory" formation and kneel down with the ball.
"He took his eyes away. Victory was signaled in right after that and he got hurt," Mendenhall said. "I'm responsible for anything that happens when one of our guys gets hurt. It's really unfortunate. Cleaner communication on our part needs to be done. It's not his fault, it's our fault."
Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said he told Hill to let the clock run, but Hill "misinterpreted" the signal.
"It's a great excuse, or a great explanation, but it doesn't make anybody feel any better," Doman said. "He called a play and went running to the line of scrimmage. I asked (Mendenhall) to call a timeout, and he didn't get to the ref in time. … It's my fault, at least that's how I feel. I'm responsible for that, and I don't know that I'll ever get over him getting injured the way he did and the circumstances of how it happened."
Hill knew after the game that he was hurt and he met with medical personnel, said Hurst, BYU's trainer. Hurst scheduled an MRI for Saturday, and that's when the extent of the injury was revealed. Mendenhall said he didn't know that Hill was hurt until he found out about it on Saturday. More medical tests were conducted on Hill's knee Monday.
Asked about Hill's prognosis, Hurst said, "He should recover fully and be able to play and contribute and do everything he set out to do."
It's too early to know if Hill will be able to participate at all in spring practices in March, said Hurst, who added that the LCL injury is "less significant" than an ACL, which requires 6-10 months of recovery.
Now, Nelson — who acknowledged Monday that he was playing with "fractures" in his back before he was sidelined — will lead the Cougar offense Saturday (1:30 p.m. MT, ABC) against No. 10 Oregon State.
"I'm full-go. I'm excited," Nelson said. "We have a top-10 opponent in our house on Homecoming. It's a great opportunity."
Even before the injury, Mendenhall was planning on Nelson starting this week, and Nelson took all of the snaps in Monday's practice. He did not play the past two weeks due to his injury.
"It's been hard, but I needed it to get healthy," Nelson said about being sidelined. "It was tough. I left that decision was up to the coaches. I told them if they needed me I was available, but their decision was to rest me. It definitely worked wonders as far as healing me up."
Nelson played against Utah and Boise State with his injured back. Though he doesn't regret playing, he acknowledged that the pain related to the injury seriously hampered his abilities in those games. "(The injury) affected my decision-making and my play and my confidence level," he said. "That's all gone, because I don't feel pain anymore. I don't feel hurt. I'm back to myself."
How did Nelson look Monday in practice?
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